2016 Zero S Electric Motorcycle With City Range Of Up To 197 Miles

APR 6 2016 BY STAFF 35

We don’t often cover electric motorcycles here at InsideEVs. But when Zero Motorcycle posted thisĀ “Want to go up to 197 miles on one charge? Put a little power in your tank. Our Power Tank option adds 2.8 kWh of capacity,” our attention was piqued.

There’s no formal EPA testing for motorcycles, but nearly 197 miles on a single charge is impressive nonetheless.

What’s it cost to get an electric motorcycle that can go 197 miles on a charge? How’s $12,595 plus an additional $2,674 for the Power Tank sound? That’s a lot of cash for an electric bike, but there’s really no competition out there for Zero, so the electric bike maker can command the premium.

For more on Zero’s lineup of electric bikes, click here.



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35 Comments on "2016 Zero S Electric Motorcycle With City Range Of Up To 197 Miles"

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That’s more than I get on my (Harley) Fatboy.

I get around 135 miles on my Suzuki Bandit 1250 before the fuel gauge starts flashing – normal overland riding on two-lane roads. Electric motorcycle are almost there, at least range-wise.

My Zero SR gets me to work and back and insane speeds, and I get home with 50-60% SOC. They’re more than there for commuting.

What’s the commute distance?

And definitely more than my Sportster.

I don’t believe it.
No way they get that range in anything like normal driving.
Even at a steady 25mph it would be hard.

I’s sure they used a 140 lbs rider in a leotard to achieve that number and drove as conservatively as possible, but I don’t think that number is totally unrealistic. IC engines suffer a drastic loss of efficiency at very low loads, whereas most electric motors achive their best efficency under those circumstance. This is, unfortunately, also the reason why range drops so much more dramatically for an EV when you go just a little faster than it drops for an ICE car.
The range record for a Tesla Model S 85kwh is something around 550 miles IIRC.

Hi. I’m quite familiar with Zero motorcycles – I follow them and I’ve spoken to many of the owners who actually ride them.

Zero’s range estimates are actually pretty much spot-on. The 197 miles figure is for cities only; these bikes are at their most efficient at city speeds, think <35 mph.

A fully-kitted out Zero S 13.0 (kWh) with the optional 2.9 kWh Power Tank has a 98 mile range at 70 mph continuous on the flat with no headwind.

15.9 kwH on a motorcycle is actually more than you might think. Because you’ve got a lot less weight to shift than a car, at city speeds averaging 25 mph, you’d be talking around 100 Wh/mile before you factor in regeneration.

In other words roughly 1/3 the energy a Tesla Model S uses for city driving.

I don’t actually own a Zero but I do have a high-powered electric bicycle. It’s not as heavy as a Zero, but it’s still pretty heavy, and it maintains around 45 mph with a power load of 4.8 kW assuming flat terrain and no headwind or tailwind.

Based on my bike, Zero’s figures sound about right. The Zero is heavier, but it’s more aerodynamic to compensate. I get about 20 miles of city range on my 1.5 kWh pack. If the pack were 10 times larger like the Zeros, I’d get closer to 200 miles, yeah.

2015 Zero SR owner here – it’s true, I get pretty much exactly what they advertise. My Zero has nearly the capacity of my electric car, but it ways thousands less, so it makes sense that it has better range.

FWIW, motorcycles are extremely inefficient in the aero department. At 70 mph, I’m consuming about as much energy per mile on my Brammo as a Model S. But the weight advantage is huge for city and stop-n-go driving. There is almost no penalty for driving heavy footed, or handed.

I have a Harley Road King and I thought seriously about trading it in on a Zero but it just never made sense. The biggest thing was price, I could get a low mileage used FFE for less than a new Zero. I may not have the range with the FFE but I’m a lot more comfortable and I can haul a lot more stuff. Another huge problem with the Zero is the charging time. Zero came out with a EV charge tank last year but, at 3.3 kW, I can still charge my FFE faster. Zero needs to spend some of the grant money the government has been giving them to develop real DCFC capabilities, then I might get interested again. The 197 mile range is at city speeds. At highway speeds the range cuts down to about 120 miles. Loose the power tank and add the charge tank and the range drops to 100 but you can charge at commercial EV charging station. If anybody made an electric motorcycle that rode like my Road King, had long range and DCFC capabilities I would be in lust. I don’t think I have anything to worry about, nobody is going… Read more »

“I could get a low mileage used FFE for less than a new Zero”

You could get a low mileage used Zero for much less than a low mileage used FFE.

Texas FFE,

Check out the Brutus V9.

You can get it with a 33.7kWh battery which gets a claimed 210 miles on the highway (280 city). I emailed them and you can get it with DCFC.

Impressive specs but the bike looks it was put together in a barn. The 33.7 kWh battery is bigger than any on any of the none Tesla EVs!! I’ll definitely keep an eye on these, any idea what countries they sell to?

Texas FFE,

The V9 is made by Bell Custom Cycles and they are just that, a custom motorcycle company. I doubt they sell overseas just because of the different standards and processes. Have never seen a full review of one of them in a magazine. I know they are located in Las Vegas, Nevada. I emailed them last year asking about the CHAdeMO system and they said they could install one. They are certainly an interesting looking bike. While I am sure they would ship one to me, trying to resolve problems from the east coast is not something I want to experience.

…I also doubt they cost 10-15 grand…


We reviewed several Bell bikes in our 2015 Q2 Electric Motorcycles Buyers Guide.

(also the Zero line)

I purchased my 2016 ZERO SR in March without the Power Tank or Charge Tank to use for my daily 73 mile round trip commute. I agree with those who say the bike (and tanks) is expensive, but my advantages are:

1) No stops at the gas station twice a week;
2) Sporty performance;
3) Low maintenance (my 600 mile service was only $100).
4) I only ride for my commute and never go on long rides, so I don’t care about long distances or fast charging.
5) I have arrived home with anywhere from 19-39 miles remaining, so no range anxiety for me.

In the short time that I have had my SR, I’ve put 1,100 miles on it and have no regrets.

Note to Ben Pink: Thanks for your advice and you were right when you said I should have 20 miles remaining after my commute.

The price of a Zero motorcycle has actually went DOWN quite a bit. My Zero S 11.4kwh retailed for $15995. Now the price is much less for a better bike with 13kwh and they brought the 10 percent tax credit back. So you are talking only $12599. And Zero just emailed me about a special “we pay for the juice” $1,000 credit. So effectively $11599 for a motorcycle with more range than my Nissan Leaf. Mine worked perfectly for my 65 mile round trip commute everyday. I only want to buy a new one so i can get the charge tank accessory for fast J1772 charging. Test ride a Zero, you’ll be glad you did.

So if I waited three weeks, I would have gotten $1,000 fro ZERO. Now I have one regret.

Too much money for too little of a bike …. When compared to standard motorcycles. Motorcycles are 99% toys in North America so these make very little sense. Unless you do live to try to single handily save the world.

It can truly be said that air quality is the accumulation of our individual actions. If we don’t act individually, nothing will change.

Unfortunately, money is part of it. Nobody with limited budget will voluntarily choose inferior product. Not unless someone will pony up the money difference …. Like with cars.

With bikes, there’s no Tesla on the horizon, plus as I said most bikes are in this part of the world bought for fun.

Toys don’t need a TCO analysis. Toys can be expensive if you like them anyways.

Agreed … Ask motorcycling enthusiasts who truly likes Zero. It will be pretty one sided result. You will find commuters probably loving it, but this is totally different interest group.

Also, this works for a commuter in California, what about colder climates …. Who can afford Zero and BEV to cover 12 months needs??

There is no standard motorcycle with an ICE that delivers power like that electric motor on the Zero does. There is a smoothness to the power delivery that no one has ever duplicated in an ICE. That is the appeal of the electric motorcycle to me. I have a 650 V-Strom, ZX-6R and a Zero SR. With aftermarket chargers I can charge the SR in 2 hours or less. If range and or charging time isn’t an issue I take the SR. If either is an issue I take the V-Strom. I have ridden my SR across North Carolina and rode the Dragon a few times. Compared to my V-Strom it was easier. With the V-Strom it was more work and sooner or later you make mistakes with RPMs or what gear you are in. With the SR you just focus on your line through those turns. The torque is certainly addicting.

I am truly puzzled by your statements …. I am not sure how experienced you are on two wheels. You have a variety of good bike in your stable, yet you prefer Zero … The Zero simply will not handle nowhere near where your other two bikes do, and then there’s the range … Especially in the Deals gap region …. Of course on a 10 or so kilometers of road with 300 turns Zero will feel easier to ride, especially if you have a problem with keeping your gear and RPM where they need to be.

How did you end up with something as fine as ZX-6R and Zero at the same time?

If money is no problem surely everyone could add zero to their garage for commuting duties, but for anything else, no way. The pricies are simply obscene, in terms what you are getting back.

When I win a lottery I might give them a look, just to get something to commute on.

Mxs, I have just over 135,000 miles on my 2012 V-Strom, had just over 24,000 on my 2014 SR before trading it in on a 2016 model. I use a bike for many trips people use cars, I just prefer riding a bike compared to using my Ford Ranger. Lots of trips up and down the east coast for a variety of reasons. Actually the SR does handle as good as the V-Strom. But I have upgraded the suspension on the V-Strom so if you compare each in their stock model there is no question the SR would handle better than the V-Strom. The SR has about the same HP and the same weight as the v-Strom but over twice as much torque. There is no way the V-Strom can keep up with the SR until you start going over 100 MPH. I bought the ZX-6R just to try a sport bike for awhile. No question it is a fun bike. Riding position can get a bit challenging after awhile. But sport bikes only seem to get really fun once you start going well over legal speed limits. I think the question is how much risk to your license do… Read more »

Perhaps you have not ridden a Zero or seen a review of one if you think the Zero S has compares unfavorably to any similarly priced motorcycle in any way other than highway range and refueling time. I don’t care about riders who ride overweight ‘fat’ bikes. I mean real bikes. I rode my VTR1000 on a 5000 mile trip from Michigan to California fully loaded. I did not need nor want a cruiser or touring bike. I had to refuel 5 or 6 times a day, so that would have been an issue if I was riding electric, but the other capabilities of the Zero S or DS would have been the same. Similar weight, similar torque, similar load carrying, similar handling. I do not know what you are referring to when you say the “Zero simply will not handle nowhere near where your other two bikes do…” An uninformed and/or biased opinion on the face of it.

Not that the range wouldn’t be impressive, but the power tank is seriously overpriced. Nissan will give you 6kWh for around $2000, if you look at the prices in european countries, so 333 $/kWh. Even with a Tesla Model S, you just pay $650 per additional kWh and there is quite a margin included. ZM asks $955 per kWh, thats a bit excessive.

The size, weight and lifespan are also factors. Nissan’s 140 watt hour per kilogram is excessively heavy compared to the Zero at just 220 watt hour per kilogram.

Are these bikes available in Europe? Does anyone know? I was looking for an European dealer about a year ago, but I didn’t find any.


Depends on the country, but there are maybe 30-40 dealers across Europe.

I’m a 2014 Zero SR owner w/powertank. Real range is about 75 miles on the interstate or about 105 if you really baby the trip on side roads. I’d guess 2016s are doing about 85 or so real highway miles. My definition of highway is 70mph.